Fairfield Joins March for Change on Gun Laws
It was a committed crowd that gathered in front of the Capitol in Hartford on Feb. 14 to demand a change to Connecticut’s gun laws. Wearing green — the Sandy Hook Elementary School color that has come to symbolize the movement — the 5500 attendees stood in the cold to hear speaker after speaker talk about the issue of gun violence and how it has altered their lives.
Fairfield University was represented by 14 students, staff and faculty — a group organized by the Center for Faith and Public Life along with Catholic Studies, Campus Ministry, Peace and Justice Studies and the Service for Justice Residential College. “It was the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day, because the whole event was, essentially, about love and hope,” noted Jocelyn Collen of Campus Ministry.
Among those who spoke to the crowd, Robert Thompson, the father of 14-year old Justin, gunned down in Bridgeport last year, said that his son “had just been beginning to figure out who he was” before he was killed. Veronique Pozner, mother of the youngest Sandy Hook victim, described the impact the murder has had on his twin sister, who worried that she would forget the sound of his voice; Survivors of the Virginia Tech and Aurora movie theater shootings spoke about the terror of facing down a gunman while those around you die. And Jillian Soto, sister of slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria, asked the crowd to list the five most important people in their lives. “Now imagine that I took a pencil and randomly crossed one of them out,” she said.
Julie Labbadia ’13, English and sociology major from Westbrook, CT, had a very personal reason for attending the rally – a family member is a special education teacher at Sandy Hook. “I wanted to be involved in any way I could,” she said. “The whole event was very inspiring, with everyone crying and laughing together. It was clearly a cause that everyone there believed in.”
Danielle Corea, program coordinator for the Center for Faith and Public Life, who organized the Fairfield University contingent, urged those concerned about the issue to be as active as possible. “I think we need to get more involved in the process and take personal ownership over the issues. If everyone called or e-mailed his or her congressmen, we could achieve the changes that we need to make our communities safer."
Gov. Dannel Malloy outlined a plan to make Connecticut’s gun laws the tightest in the country, with universal background checks, and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips. Anyone who would like to advocate for tougher gun laws can start by contacting their representatives at www.marchforchange.org